The number 13 stands out even on my dark smooth skin. It stares at me thoughtfully taking in the girl with thick curly hair. It stares into my brown eyes and I see its thoughtfulness change as it poses a new look of disdain at the solitary creature before it. The number grandiose submitted to the grimy skin of an innocent inmate. And if you were wondering, yes I reside in a prison. I could say it's alright since I now have my own cell, complete with a real bed n' mattress all because of my so called "good behavior" but a prison is a prison no matter how accommodating.
Wondering thoughts I remind myself as I bring my focus back to reality. I flick the sleeve of my green jumper back down over my wrist but it does nothing to dispel the ever present feeling of being burned and branded, similar to the cattle of a lost world long ago. Thirteen. I'd always wondered why that number. Speculation had it as being because of my position in the line but the person before me had received the number 24. So maybe it was just pure coincidence. Or fate. Who knows? But I was to the answer, no doubt.
I stand at the door of my prison cell waiting for the guard to release me for lunch. He finally walks by stopping in front of the lock and eyeing me suspiciously. I flash him a large mischievous grin as the cell door swings open. He cringes when I brush past him. Adults. I shake my head as I head to the Caf'.
Finding a seat at one of the long tables lining the walls was relatively easy and my friends somehow hobble over after a few minutes' trays in tow. We have a perfect view of the wardens office, even now we can see one of our used to be fellow sisters cleaned, prim and proper and just ordinary, her signature flare no more. She had been conformed. They try to put you through the worst so that you realize following the rules was easier than rebelling against harmony and society.
If you didn't know and I'm sure you didn't there are several prisons around the major cities of new America. They once housed criminals of all calibers but now they were home to rebellious teens and those with even the semblance of nonconformity, mostly teenagers, we'll all inner city youth who were posed 'problems'. I was brought in for not keeping the harmony of the rules but to say I was sorry for what I did would be a blatant lie. A gun pulled in demonstration and pointed in a strangers face, and you tell me to ignore it, that it's required to keep the peace. I would rather rot in this prison for the rest of my life but I won't.
They say maturity comes with age but I doubt that, maturity comes with experience and that is what I can attest to. The adults and I can't even say all of them because it isn't, just a few with power and money to blow and maybe even the right connections; they want us to be just like them but I refuse to be conformed. They say to respect your elders but respect is earned and it seems my fellow brothers, sisters and I have yet to earn ours.
I snap out of my inner monologue noting the warden making her rounds she eyes us with the same disdain that my thirteen had earlier and I can't help but feel the anger rising up my throat but I suppress it because violence is never the answer. There is something else to be done.
We left the cafeteria and headed to the outside park which was still technically inside seeing as it was enclosed by tall cool cement walls. It was here that enlightenment set in upon every resident of this so called prison.
It started with one idea and expanded. One idea, one spark. It was in a group of thirteen that the plan had circulated and it was from that group that it passed to every inmate to every rebellious staff member and to every other prison. One idea, a group of thirteen, thirteen prisons. Could it have been pure coincidence or fate.
There wasn't much time between it all but a week and five days later brought the fruits of our combined effort. Thirteen prisons, thirteen years conforming society as everyone knew it, twelve days it had taken to organize the plan.
The dawn of the thirteenth day brought revolution or perhaps a demonstration but it was absolutely the turning point.
It was only the beginning and the adults had yet to see our true faces.
We refuse to be conformed.